Reshaping Appalachian Stereotypes Through Music and Art

By Jade Artherhults

When one thinks about music and culture in West Virginia, the first thing to come to mind is usually banjos and bluegrass. However, two friends based out of Morgantown have created a project to broaden the way people view culture in West Virginia and all of Appalachia.

“Every Appalachian’s story is authentic.”

-The unofficial Travelin’ Appalachians Revue mission statement

The Travelin’ Appalachians Revue, co-founded by local Morgantown friends Tyler Grady and Howard Parsons, went on their first tour around West Virginia last summer. This June, they’re hitting the road again for their second annual tour, titled Things Said to a Hole in the Ground.

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“When we started it, the idea was to highlight West Virginia creativity that isn’t exactly pigeonholed into the old-timey folky cannon. We aren’t shunning anything, but there’s other stuff in West Virginia,” Parsons said. “There’s graffiti, punk rock, weird noise-pop. There’s everything. It doesn’t seem to get quite the attention that the old-time bluegrass does.”

This year’s lineup is jam-packed, with about seven to ten performers at each stop. There’s something for everybody, too. There will be visual art, spoken word, and music performances.

“We’re promoting alternative Appalachian artists,” said Bryan Richards, the visual arts coordinator for the Travelin’ Appalachians Revue. “To ignore visual art is a great disservice to a large section of people in Appalachia, so we’re trying to focus on local artists at each stop this year.”

The show is going all around West Virginia, so there will be multiple opportunities to catch the tour – though no show will be like the last since there will be local acts in each town.

“We want to continue on the idea of creating community within the state rather than within the communities we visit. Part of the real goal of this is to stay as inclusive in our state as within the communities we visit,” Grady said.

So, what are the future plans for the Travelin’ Appalachians Revue?

“I wanna go farther. I wanna go longer and farther. I really want to put the Appalachian part to work,” Parsons said.

Check out the Travelin’ Appalachians Tour dates below. The entire lineup can be found on their website.

6/14 The Shepherdstown Opera House – Shepherdstown, WV

6/15 TipTop – Thomas, WV

6/16 The Historic Fayette Theater – Fayetteville, WV

6/17 The RiffRaff Arts Collective Theater Upstairs – Princeton, WV

6/18 (As part of FestivALL) The Boulevard Tavern – Charleston, WV

6/19 The Blue Church – Wheeling, WV

6/20 (West Virginia Day) 123 Pleasant Street – Morgantown, WV

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4 thoughts on “Reshaping Appalachian Stereotypes Through Music and Art”

  1. This is an interesting article! I really like the sound of this group. It seems like they are going for something completely authentic and trying to get away from that stereotype of just bluegrass and folk. I also really like how they are trying to bring the community together and promoting a sense of unity and inclusiveness with their music.

    Like

  2. Jade,
    Excellent use of interactive media in your posting. The list, links, offset text, and images all enhance your story. I like the compact intensity of the information and how it is nice and clean.

    Like

  3. This article was very interesting! I think that people have a negative mindset when thinking of Appalachian culture, so it’s cool to see a group trying to work to reshape the way of thinking. Great use of links and media too!

    Like

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